Story by Allison Trebacz
Life is something that happens day to day, but now, in an ever-changing and advancing society, life happens minute to minute.
Attention spans have narrowed so much that, sometimes, waiting 10 seconds for the “skip to video” button on Youtube is almost too much to endure for a three minute clip.
In todays media crazed world, companies have to work much harder to get consumers to sit through their ad and advertisers are resorting to extreme trends to make it happen.
Known for causing a Twitter trend on a regular basis is Geico’s viral “Hump Day” commercial. It used a ridiculous element in an ordinary setting to grab attention and ended with a punch line that pulled it all together.
“How happy is he, Johnny?”
“Happier than a camel on hump day.”
Humor is one element that demands attention but too often ends up overdone or underdone, resulting in an uncomfortable 30 seconds.
While Geico’s last campaign was effective their newest one, airing on Hulu.com in the middle of episodes, some feel it is veering towards uncomfortable.
It features several paintings hanging on a wall in an art museum. Their mouths move like ventriloquist puppets, and the message is wholly more disturbing than effective, yet different.
“I think it’s definitely about, to quote my professor (Sandy Henry) ‘cutting through the clutter’ because there’s so much going on in the advertising world that you have to do something to make yours standout,” said Lisa Lerman, a sophomore management major.
Lerman mentions AT&T’s new ad campaign, which tries to communicate the idea of being “better” using a man in a suit, sitting in a kindergarten classroom and asking children questions in an unscripted format. “It combines cute kids with humor and easy-to-access information in a neatly packaged way,” Lerman said.
And it is different. Different sells, and more and more companies are taking risks that, 20 years ago, might have been thought of as advertisement suicide.
Some commercials don’t even mention the product they are representing. Instead of mentioning the product, they try to create enough visual interest to inspire enough curiosity so the consumer will take time and visit their website.
Nestle’s new Keurig-esque coffee/espresso machine is an example of this.
The featured commercial is a visual masterpiece of metallic colored water droplets falling and dancing to classical music with no conceivable explanation but the sensual idea of luxury. That’s it, that’s the commercial.
Nestle isn’t the only company using sensuality to sell luxury.
Other companies are trying to attract customers with sensual, gratuitous shots of their product set to gentle or nearly romantic music. They’re about 30 seconds of watching something shiny twirl in slow motion. Hershey, Dove, Dyson Vacuum cleaners and several other brands have been using this sensual advertising to sell their “luxury” products.
Moving away from luxury and into the everyday, Target probably has some of the most recognizable commercials.
They’re normally off the wall, overwhelmingly white and then there is a pop of red. They haven’t completely done away with the iconic white dog and the Target eye, but they have found a happy medium between pleasing the audience and focusing on their products and the color red.
Target’s upcoming holiday commercial features Justin Timberlake, some back-up singers and plenty of black, white and red.
Another way companies are catching consumers ever-dwindling attention, is by paying close attention to social media and knowing how their product is received.
Some are aware of how ‘sassy’ Taco Bell’s official Twitter is or how Walmart might comment on their Facebook page when you leave a comment about their logo.
Companies are reaching into the pools where consumers are. Denny’s restaurant has an involved Tumblr account that is constantly tracking its own tag and replying to posts in a humorous way that the younger generation, which is more immune to advertisement, actually reacts to and remembers.
Companies are also aware of their presence on social media and what people largely think of their product.
One notable ad campaign is for Marmite, a vegetable spread that’s more popular overseas than in America.
They’ve started using the slogan, “Love it. Hate it. Just don’t forget it.” They’re aware of the love/hate their product receives and started a new ad campaign to address “Marmite Neglect.”
The ads encourage consumers to use it anyway.
The holiday season is coming up, and new ads are coming with it, with brand-new ideas of how they’re going to catch the attention of consumers.